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President Weah Edges First Round In Liberia Vote

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – Liberian President George Weah faces a November 14 run-off vote after edging out his main rival by less than half a percent in the first round, the National Electoral Commission said Tuesday announcing final results.

Ex-international soccer star Weah garnered 43.83 percent of the votes from the October 10 election while Joseph Boakai won 43.44 percent, said election commission chief Davidetta Browne-Lansanah.

With no candidate taking enough votes for an absolute majority to be elected, “the run-off vote is hereby declared to be held on Tuesday, 14th of November 2023,” she said.

That sets up a repeat of the 2017 election run-off that saw Weah, popular with many young people, crowned president.

The 57-year-old has been criticised after a disappointing first term and accused of breaking promises.

Living conditions have not improved for many of the nation’s poorest, and corruption has risen.

The United States has sanctioned five senior Liberian officials for graft over the past three years.

Boakai, aged 78, was vice president from 2006 to 2018 and has been a key figure in national politics for almost four decades.

He has promised to restore the country’s image, develop infrastructure and improve the lives of the most disadvantaged.

Before the final results were released Boakai’s spokesman Mohammed Ali told AFP the challenger was ready for the run-off campaign, despite voting irregularities in the first round such as invalid votes being counted and problems identifying some voters.

None of the 18 other presidential candidates received more than three percent in the first round of voting in the West African nation on October 10.

The electoral commission noted that the 78.86 percent turnout for the first round of voting was “historic” and a “record”.

International observers have congratulated the electoral commission on the smooth conduct of the first round. There were no major incidents.

During the campaigning period clashes had erupted between supporters of the ruling party and the opposition leaving several people dead, raising fears of post-election violence.

The vote was the first to be held since the United Nations ended its peacekeeping mission in Liberia in 2018.

The mission was created after more than 250,000 people died in two civil wars between 1989 and 2003.


Short URL: https://www.africanexaminer.com/?p=91738

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